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Still Waiting on Your Passport? Here’s What You Can Do Now

The busy summer travel season is well underway, but many travelers planning to head abroad are stuck in limbo waiting for their new passport mere weeks – or even days – before their upcoming trip, putting their travel plans in jeopardy.

As international travel demand has soared this year, the U.S. State Department is dealing with created an unprecedented amount of passport applications and renewals – and a backup. Currently, the State Department estimates it will take 10 to 13 weeks for routine passport processing and seven to nine weeks even for expedited processing, which costs an additional $60. And those timelines don't include shipping, which could easily add several more weeks.

It won't get better soon: The federal government now says it will take until the least the end of 2023 to resume processing passports at pre-pandemic speeds, according to CNN. To guarantee enough turnaround time, they're now encouraging Americans with upcoming international travel or an expiring passport to apply at least six months in advance. 
 

Passport processing times 

Even travelers who heeded the federal government's advice to apply for a new passport – or renew an expiring one – well in advance of international travel are facing uncertainty about whether their passport will arrive in time. Travelers are reporting long wait times on the phone, paying additional fees for expedited service or rushed delivery, or even booking additional flights to get to a passport agency with available appointments – if they can find one at all.

Worried about getting your passport in time? Don't cancel your trip just yet. Here are a few things you can do take to make sure you have your passport in hand as soon as possible.
 

 

Check Your Application Status

Finding out where your passport application or renewal stands can give you an idea of whether or not you need to take additional action to get it in time for your trip.

Starting two weeks after applying, you can easily check on the status of your passport using this link. Just fill out the form and hit submit.
 

passport status  

You can also sign up for automatic email notifications about your status using the Online Passport Status System. Finally, you can also call 1-877-487-2778 to check on your passport status, though many travelers are experiencing hours-long wait times on that National Passport Information Center line.

 

Upgrade to Expedited Service

Regardless of how far away your trip is, you should upgrade to expedited service (if you didn't do so when you first applied) for a better chance of getting your passport in time. Expedited processing costs an extra $60, and you can also add another $20 for rushed delivery. That's a small price to pay over what it might cost to cancel or change your travel plans.

If you applied for a new passport or to renew it by mail or in person, you'll have to call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to upgrade from routine to expedited service.
 

urgent travel passport  

The current processing times for expedited passport renewals are seven to nine weeks, although even travelers who applied for expedited renewals have reported longer than estimated wait times in receiving their new passports recently.

Thrifty Tip: Paid the $60 fee for expedited service, but didn't receive expedited service? You can request a refund for that fee.

 

Reach Out to Your Local Congressional Office

The office of your local U.S. senator or representative can submit an inquiry into the status of your application, which might help expedite the renewal process. However, you must have travel planned within 14 days (and provide proof of your flight itinerary) before they can help you.

Several members of Congress including Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and even Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from New York have even added dedicated resources for passport help to their website homepages.
 

Passport services on Sen. Amy Klobuchar's website 

You can quickly find who represents you in D.C. via Congress.gov and easily get some preliminary contact information.

You only need to reach out to one congressional office; contacting multiple U.S. senators or representatives won't help you get your passport any faster. In fact, it may only delay your case as duplicate requests can lead to a backlog, according to an email response we received from Sen. Tina Smith's office.

 

Make an In-Person Appointment

If you have already submitted your application, but have still not received your passport within five days of your departure date, you need to make an in-person appointment at a passport agency.

To do so, you'll need to call the National Passport Information Center first at 1-877-487-2778 – don't just show up at the passport agency, as you'll likely be turned away. Your local congressional office may also be able to help you make an in-person appointment at the nearest agency if you struggle to find one yourself.

Be prepared to be patient, though: The state Department said customers are facing extended wait times while trying to contact them. Some travelers have reported waiting an hour and a half or longer to talk to a staff member, and even if they get through, they're having difficulty finding available appointments.

The State Department acknowledged availability at its 26 passport agencies is “extremely limited.” Travelers can go to any passport agency, which has led some to book additional flights or take a road trip to get to one with available appointments, incurring yet another cost just to get their passport back.

To reduce wait times, the State Department has tripled the number of phone lines available at the National Passport Information Center and are “aggressively” hiring and training additional staff to handle the influx of calls, a spokesperson told Thrifty Traveler. They're also offering service on the weekends. You can now call Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, and Saturday and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET.

Since appointments sometimes open at the last minute due to cancellations or other factors, the State Department said customers should continue calling to see if appointments become available.
 

U.S. passport wait times are up 

If you're traveling internationally in the next six to 14 days, you can also call the National Passport Information line in order to give your passport application a nudge to get things moving faster. Continue checking the status of your application, though, to see where things stand.

Read our full guide to getting a last-minute passport!

 

Bottom Line

Unprecedented demand has led to a backlog in applications for new or renewed passports, and that's causing stress for many travelers with international trips coming up. And it isn't getting better anytime soon.

If your international trip is fast approaching and you don't yet have your new passport in hand, you have a few options available to try to ensure you get it back in time … but you'll need to be proactive.

 

54 Responses

  • I applied on March 2nd and they received my application on the 9th of March. I have a family trip planned on June 18th to the Dominican Republic and I still haven’t received my passport. It says it is processing still. I have called and spoke with a agent and there are no available appointments at a agency anywhere in the United States right now. When I spoke to a agent they said they would reach out to the agency that is processing my application and let them know that I’m traveling on the 18th, but there is no guarantee that I will receive it in time. It has been such a stressful time waiting to see if it will get here in time, and there is nothing that can be done!

    • I am in the same boat!!! It’s been a complete disaster and headache. Soooo many hours on hold only to be either hung up on or unable to help. I wish I had known to contact a congress office sooner, I just spoke to someone from Tina Smith’s office and she said there’s still a tiny bit of hope for me… but this has been beyond stressful. Best wishes to your journey, I hope miracles come through for us!

    • Hello Crystal,

      Saw your post and wanted to know if you ever received your passport? I hope you did and everything has worked out. I am also waiting for mine.

          • Hi – have you received your passport yet? They received mine and I have a trip on August 30th and they received mine on May 9th. So very similar time frame to yours.

      • Still waiting for a status on my and my son’s passports. Checks were cashed 8 weeks ago and status still says unavailable. We can’t get a person on the phone it is all automated. I am wondering if they only update the status when they mail the passport out

    • I’m in the same situation. I applied for expedite passport, they said 7-9 weeks buts it’s been 11 weeks and still no passport. I can’t get an appointment or a person who will tell me differently besides “our system is down”. I’m leaving in 10 days and I haven’t got any help.

  • Hello,
    I expedited my renewal and they received it 05/05. I have called several times because I had international travel earlier this month. There are no emergency appointments available anywhere. It has been quite frustrating to say the least. I missed the travel date, so had to change plans. The status is still showing “in process”

  • Submitted an expedited application 10 weeks ago. Flying in 5 days. The passport office has put an “urgent travel” notice on my application, but I still don’t have it. My congressional office has not returned calls, no appointments are available at any passport office locally or even a reasonable flight away. This is utterly stupid.

  • I am in the same situation. They have received my daughters passport application on May 22nd and our travel is for June 29th for her to film a role in a movie. A really amazing opportunity for her. It is June 22 and my status is still “In Progress” I called multiple times with over 1 1/2 hour wait times to try and request an appt. ( with in 5 days of travel). and I was told there are no available appt. anywhere in California. This morning I will call Adam Shiff’s office to see if someone can help me. So stressful . If I can not get her passport she will get recast.

  • I applied early April, app has been in process for 10 weeks, requested expedite service 14 days prior to travel, never approved. Reached out to congressional office, I received an email back but no other updates. Sad to say I had to cancel my anniversary trip that was planned since match. Travel date 6/27. I rebooked for another month but I’m not very optimistic I’ll even receive my passport then. This sucks.

    • We are losing our right to travel. Even during times when the passport agency is less dysfunctional, the act of sending in your passport with a renewal application effectively cancels your current passport, and ends your right to travel. This has to stop. It’s time to bother our Congressional reps about this. Our rights are being denied.

  • Well I’m in the same boat as everyone else. U paid for expedited and express mail delivery and return. It was received on 05/24/23. I’m set to travel 07/06/23 to celebrate my friends 50th BD. I suspect at this point I will not be able to go. I have been calling all week to secure an appointment. The phone waits are an hour and a half for them to tell me the system is down and they can’t see my application nor available appointments. This had been all last week. The system had been down!

  • I’m wondering if anyone who replied here was successful in getting their passport? My son’s application has been in process since 3/24 and as of 7/3 still no passport. Site still shows in process and no available appointments. His travel date was supposed to be tomorrow 7/4. Non refundable ticket. I could just cry. No one here to help. The local congressman’s office said they sent a notification to the agency but no one responded. This is absurd.

    • I was successful just today….I contacted my congressman yesterday and low and behold my passport status went from in process to shipped in less than 24 hours.

      • what information did you give them to help you. I called and told them my situation but they just ask my for name and address.

  • I hope someone in the government will read all these and do something! I’ve been waiting 17 weeks’s for my son’s RENEWAL passport. Waited on hold for hours, been hung up on by “supervisors” who say all I can do is check the website check the website check the website. Beyond stressful. I’ve saved 10 years for this trip.

    • If you are still trying, go to your Senators office ASAP, if its too far go to your congress person’s office. Fill out their form so they can advocate for you. They should have it on their website. If you have a week to spare they should be able to help you. Stop calling for an appointment. The likelihood of getting an appointment is so incredibly remote, you’ll probably win the lottery first.

    • Insane, in my husband country wich is El Salvador, when you apply for a passport they give it the same day, imagine been a third world country and they give the sameday. I just dont get why here in the US takes so long to get it. its crazy

  • I am supposed to fly on Saturday July 8th and had submitted applications for my kids the first week of April. Assuming we will have to reschedule our trip to next year. Contacted our Congress person today but they’d have to truly pull a miracle at this point. Did all the things in this article and have gotten nowhere but frustrated and anxious. I filed an expedited renewal for myself on May 31 and actually got mine with a week to spare. How did I apply 7 weeks later and already got mine?

    • After speaking to two Senate staffers, it sounds like if you go to a Senate office with about 2 weeks to spare, they should be able to help you. I may be out of luck because I only have 2 days but go to the closest Senate office or if they are too far, go to your congress person’s office 2 weeks before your travel date.

      • I got my kid’s passports!! Pretty sure it would not have happened without the help of Senate and Congressional staffers.

  • My son and I were supposed to travel to Madrid in April. We submitted his passport renewal in January. They didn’t process it in time so we drove from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA to the passport agency. The gentleman behind us in line was from Tahoe and had to fly up there because none of the CA offices had availability. After waiting 6 hrs, in the HOT office with no food or water, we were told in 30 seconds that his passport had been processed that day, while we waited, and would have to be mailed to us. It didn’t arrive until the day we were scheduled to fly out. Unfortunately, it arrived at 8:00 PM and our flight left at 1:00 PM so we missed it. I also had to contact my state rep’s office because the passport agency didn’t change his status from “in progress” to shipped, which is supposed to supply a tracking number. If we wouldn’t have contacted our government official we would have been completely in the dark.
    We ended up booking a trip to Paris with points that night but I lost my passport in Paris and had to go to the US Embassy to get an emergency passport. 1.5 hrs later I was walking out of their bright clean office with a new emergency passport. The US Embassy was super efficient and friendly. Our US based passport offices could learn a thing or two from them.

  • This is beyond frustrating. We paid for expedited service on May 4th and are supposed to fly out tomorrow morning at 10am for our honeymoon and my husband has still not gotten his passport even after reaching out to Congress and getting an interim email back saying they will do what they can. I would like to start a petition to get at least our passport fees back if not money from our trip we paid thousands for and can not get a refund

  • Everyone’s bad news here does not bode well for us. My mom has saved for the past 2 years (public school teacher) to help our family with buying tickets for us to join her on a once in a lifetime trip where she can show her granddaughter (our daughter) her home country of England. My dad has cancer and has a surgery later this month, and after that we have no idea of what kind of care he’s going to need but it’s going to be full time care for a while, which means my mom won’t be available to travel from that point onward. We have planned the whole trip around his surgery date so that my mom can be with him when that happens (another family member is caring for him in the interim). Our tickets are non refundable, non exchangeable. $3700 down the drain, and my kid’s disappointment is just killing me. She’s 10 and is so excited to see London and meet her cousins for the first time. We are supposed to fly 7/12. We couldn’t get an initial appt til June 1st (had I known then that I could have just camped out at a post office I would absolutely have done so, but I played by the rules and got burned!!). The Passport agency assured us this route would work, we paid all the expediting fees, kept in touch, etc etc. Now it’s 4 days away and I’ve written our Congresswoman, I will def. go to her office on Monday, I’ll camp out at the passport agency in SF but I don’t think they will see me. Awful and stressful. We may have missed our chance to have this connection with my daughter and her English granny and I’m so so sad about it.

  • My heart goes out to Sad Mom. I applied for my Passport renewal the first week in March and at the time I was completely oblivious to the delay issues with Passports. We planned a British Isles cruise and are scheduled to fly from Dallas to Amsterdam Netherlands on July 21,2023. When I learned of the delay issues, I reached out to the Passport office in April to ask if the delays were so severe that I should cancel the trip. At this time, I could have gotten a full refund for the cruise and the airline tickets. I was assured that since my documents had already been in their office a month by the first week in April, I was told it was safe to say I would have my passport by end of June since it was expedited. By mid June, I still had not received my passport so I started calling to get the status and was told they couldn’t even entertain getting me an in person appointment until I was within 14 days of my travel date- so I could call back on the 7/7 if it had not arrived in the mail by then. I called back on 7/7 and after 90 minutes on hold, I was told, I needed to call back on 7/10. I called back on 7/10 and after another 90 minute hold, I was told to call back on 7/14 to make an in person appointment but to be prepared for the possibility that no appointments would be available anywhere in the country, including Hawaii, which is where my neighbor’s appointment was scheduled because it was the only place with availability. Although I have a few days left, given the attitude of the folks I have spoken with at the Passport offices, it doesn’t bode well. I have even contacted my local congress person and they have promised to look into it. My wife and I can celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary anywhere, but given the amount of money we will lose on this trip, we will have to stay close to home, if not literally, at home. I know hindsight is 20/20 but would it help to send out expiration notices letting folks know their passport is about to expire??? I typically never think of mine until I am about to travel and then I pull it out of the safe. I believe I have learned my lesson this time, albeit a very expensive one.
    Like “Sad Mom”, we saved for over a year for a trip like this. I am keenly aware that there are folks out there with much worse problems than this, but man this sure hurts. I’ve been sick about it but also realize, there is absolutely nothing else I can do at this point but hope, although I often tell my team at work, hope is not a strategy. I wish everyone out there the absolute best and I hope it works out for you, even if it doesn’t for me.

  • Applied on Feb 9th. They rejected my photo on May 1st, mailed a new photo on May 12th. Tracking shows it got delivered on May 17th. They sent me the same letter dated May 1st, but postmarked on June 2nd asking for new photo. Guess they lost the 2nd Photo, so frustrated. No passport as of July 13th, that is 19 weeks. Online status shows application in process. No one picks up the phone when called from California.

  • Applied in March, my daughter and son received their passports but mine is in limbo and we travel in 19 days. 😭 Now hearing that theres no available appts anywhere has given me more anxiety as I thought worst case scenario i’d make an appt.

  • Thanks for this article. It contains all the information I’ve been able to squeeze, bit by bit, by spending hours online and more hours on hold calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 . The big question for me now is this: HOW MUCH TIME DOES THE PASSPORT OFFICE TAKE BETWEEN “IN PROCESS”, “APPROVED” AND “MAILED”? It’s clear I have to pay a nearly $250 date change fee because I still don’t have my passport, but what date do I choose? Next week? In two weeks? Next year? I’ve asked the great people at the NPC but they don’t know. This is something we need to know. Can someone please find out and give us windows of expectation for these processing times, so we don’t keep paying flight change fees over and over?

  • My passport renewal has been IN PROCESS since 2/16. I am supposed to travel 7/16 and have done all the steps I was supposed to 14 days before my trip, then the 5 days before my trip. I’ve literally been on hold since 7/12. I call – wait 1-2 hours or get a call-back, speak to someone about 5 minutes to find zero appointments available, hang up & immediately hit redial. I’ve reached out to my congressman and apparently have someone assigned to work on my case…but even today I’ve already been told there are still not appointments. If I don’t get one today I feel like it’s hopeless & will have to cancel my flight. The system is broken!

    • Omg I’m so sorry. I’m having the same issue. They received my sons paper work on 06/05. We travel on 08/03. His status shows as processing. I have been calling the 1-800 number every hour today. Receive message saying, “Due to high capacity, we are unable to answer your call…..”. My anxiety is so high. Have not seen my sister in 11 years 🥹

  • My situation is that my minor daughter had an expiring passport and we saw the recommendations that there should be 6 months of time left on the passport after the trip, which has been the requirement for the Dominican Republic. So we went to get her renewed 4 months prior to our travel date. Did not realize what a mess this process has become. We did pay the expedited fees. We just received a letter from the State Department saying the acceptance facility (Post Office) did not sign the application nor did they put the number of the acceptance facility on the application and so they cannot process the application and it needs to be re-submitted. Not that WE didn’t sign the application or something under our control. The worker messed up. So they are now holding my daughter’s expiring passport until we re-submit. Only problem is that we need to be with her to re-submit (verify identity and all of that) and we won’t be together again until 2 days before our trip. So no way we get the new passport processed in time. Plus reading all of these horror stories. Wow. Now we just want the expiring passport back as it turns out the Dominican Republic does not require time to be left on your passport to travel after all (they have suspended this requirement until 11/30/2023). How do we get her passport back? We are calling the national number and waiting on hold. Anything else we can do?

  • count me in! I’m a mom of 2 and we have a trip coming August 1st! already contacted our congressman and they responded that they’re working on my case now. We applied in April and so far I only got mine and my son. My daughter is still in process because I only submitted a copy instead of the original one. So I responded to their letter with another letter of mine telling them they have my original documents. Include the passport representative, I talked to many of them, some are helpful some just don’t give a damn. I’ll update soon, I hope I have happy ever after on this situation.

  • As said Paul above if you have even a week spare contact your senator asap on the phone or look on their website. They usually have one of their offices and staff working on passport issues and are very prompt and helpful. They require to submit to them 2 forms to start working on your case. Need a proof for travel as well. We contacted our senators office on Friday, July 21 . On Monday morning, July 24 the credit card was charged for expedited service and delivery, the passport was printed and sent with UPS. At noon on Tuesday, July 26 we received the passport. Do not waist your time waiting on the phone with Passport center, trying to get an appointment. Good luck to everyone!

    • That’s great news. Today I called the congress office and went online and filled out the form also I attached the invitation and also airline ticket and locator #. Then I received an email from the office starting the routine processing times . So is he going to reach or out or that was the answer from the congress office . So frustrated

  • We have the same issue, We will be leaving 6 days from now and my daughter’s passport was still on process and there no other information that you can get online either when you call the passport agency. I reach out to my Local Congresswomen and I did not disappoint. the staff was very helpful they ask me Go to their official website and under Services/Help with federal agencies/click for privacy release form/ fill out all the info and upload your etickets, hotel reservation and places to visit.

    Hope this will help.

  • update: 08/01/23 I got a letter from Congress stated that they already forwarded my concern to (DOS) Dept of State. Provided to them all my itinerary tickets, Hotel Reservations, places to visit tickets, appointments etc. including the form ” privacy release form” that you can find on their website.

    as of today 08/02/2023 When I checked Travel.State.gov. Hoping that they received my concern and yes! Its already moving from ” IN PROCESS” to the DOS shipped your passport book and card on 08/01/2023 with tracking number! and will be arrived 08/04/2023. We will be leaving 08/06.

    ————————–
    this website really help me a lot! 🙂

  • update: 08/01/23 I got a letter from Congress stated that they already forwarded my concern to (DOS) Dept of State. Provided to them all my itinerary tickets, Hotel Reservations, places to visit tickets, appointments etc. including the form ” privacy release form” that you can find on their website.

    as of today 08/02/2023 When I checked Travel.State.gov. Hoping that they received my concern and yes! Its already moving from ” IN PROCESS” to the DOS shipped your passport book and card on 08/01/2023 with tracking number! and will be arrived 08/04/2023. We will be leaving 08/06.

    ————————–
    this website really help me a lot! 🙂

    08/03 Update: As of 2:15 pm today my daughter passport arrived!!!
    This Article/ Website help me a lot!! We are all packed and ready to travel!

    thank you to those who posted their experience here…

  • Thanks for this article! I waded into the expedited process as a seasoned traveler, including replacing a passport in a day in Rwanda in 2022! But the domestic expediting process has been fraught with expensive, and even fraudulent experiences. Who would have known!? I’ve gone through two companies now incl. Rush My Passport and Expedited Passports and Visas to no avail. The alternative steps and options you provide will come in handy as I continue in this journey within the journey—I think I will leverage the conventional agencies and come out ahead in the end. Thank you!

  • I sent my passport in for renewal, and an “additional information letter/email was sent” over a week ago (still haven’t received a letter or an email,checked spam/junk etc) the hotline will not do anything. I paid for expedited fees. I am supppse to leave in less than 5 days. 🙁 this was a surprise birthday gift and now I’m worried I won’t be going. Help!?

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